Part 1: “The Natural Tendency of the Soul” – Nitin Ajmera on Jainism, Nonviolence, and the Human Struggle for Virtue

August 21, 2016


Maggi Van Dorn talks with Nitin Ajmera


In this episode of our free podcast series “NYC Faith Leaders,” Maggi Van Dorn talks with Nitin Ajmera, former president of the Jain Center of America, located in Elmhurst, Queens.  In this richly informative and entertaining two-part interview, Mr. Ajmera describes the origins of Jainism (one of the oldest religions in the world), and speaks about the three main principals of the Jain faith: devotion to nonviolence (Ahimsa), a rejection of possessiveness (Aparigraha), and embracing the understanding that there are multiple paths that lead to establishment of the truth (Anekantvada). His engaging talk is a rare and valuable opportunity to learn about Jainism and how Jain belief and practice can enlighten world views on Climate Change, vegetarianism, moral responsibility, and much more. 


On the doctrine of non-violence known as “ahimsa”: “It is beyond killing of a physical, visible form … ahimsa is like nonviolence in thought, action and speech.”

On diversity: “The identity of a group has to be maintained but as long as we acknowledge that identity allows us to see a different kind of bloom in our garden… it’s beautiful right….why? Because different looks nice.”


On Jainism’s understanding of God: “The concept of God as a creator doesn’t exist in Jainism; the concept of God as an Eternal Truth?  Yes.” 


On the Jain respect for all life forms, even to the degree of not eating root vegetables so as not to harm earthworms: “Each soul has its own right to survive and meet its own fate. We are nobody in influencing that.  If we can’t make it better, who gives us the right to take it away?”


We hope you will not just listen to this series, but download the podcasts to hear while driving, jogging, or washing the dishes.  And subscribe in order to be alerted when new installments are available.  It’s a great way to learn about the faiths of our New York City neighbors.